Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lucy Danziger Jacobowitz

We always thought my mother was Laura.
"Along about the time of her birth, Laura's elder sisters, Frances, Ethel and Helen had been reading a lovely book whose heroine was named Lucy. When their parents decided to name the new baby Leah (the same as my mother, and spelled the same in both Hebrew and English), the girls assured the doctor that Lucy was the correct English translation. So Lucy it was on the birth certificate. Then the girls read another book (It wasn't until after that memorable birthday party that Laura learned about Lucy/Leah.)" Norman Jacobowitz, Letter to My Grandsons, 1984.
The Memorable Birthday Party

Norman's Letter: "For in the Summer of 1915, along came their sixth child, Grandma Laura.  I said "Summer of 1915" because there's a story that goes with that birthday: Laura and my sister, Toddy, were one day disputing as to who was the older - that's older, not younger. Laura claimed a birth date of September 29, 1914, but had no proof to back her claim.  Toddy had her birth certificate showing April 10, 1915. To resolve any doubt, and without telling anyone, Toddy wrote to Pennsylvania for a copy of Laura's birth certificate. When it arrived there was quiet pandemonium, for not only was the year not 1914, but 1915; not only was the day not September 29, but August 30; and not only was the baby's name not Laura, but LUCY! It was thus that we were able to stage the only true surprise birthday party in existence.,  On August 30, 1940, I took Laura out to dinner., Meanwhile Toddy and George had had a huge blowup made of the real birth certificate, which they hung on the wall of our apartment. The whole family, and the certificate, were waiting in the dark when I opened our door and turned on the lights.  SURPRISE!!!  After the tumult had died down Laura told us all what she remembered about her strange birthday.. When the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, Laura was ready for enrollment in school, but the school needed to know her age. Grandma Ella had to think about that.  "Let's see.. We arrived in America just before the war. The war was in 1914. So, 1914."  "But Ma, what day in 1914?"  More thinking. "Hm. First is Passover, then Succoth, then seven weeks later is Shavuoth „ You were born seventeen days after Shavuoth, which makes it "  But the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar and doesn't coincide with the standard calendar from year to year. When Grandma Ella couldn't figure out what date 17 days after Shavuoth had been in 1914, Laura decided to pick her own date. This is how she did it:  School starts early in September. It takes time to make friends. If I make it too soon after school starts I won't have enough friends to come to my birthday party. But by September 29th... So she picked September 29th.

Peter Tamases told me that Miriam and Sol's dog Lucy was named Lucifer, because she was black.
Lucinda Ellen is the full name for that relative, but they call her Lucy.

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